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Election 2012
1:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Bush Tax Cuts: The New Middle-Class Norm

Josh Walling and Randi Cartmill with their children, Jacqueline, Josh and Ryan. Josh Walling says his family, whose household income is below the national median, would lose a substantial amount of money if the Bush tax cuts expired.
Courtesy of Randi Cartmill

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 12:42 pm

The first in an occasional series, Fiscal Cliff Notes, which breaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.

Much of the political focus when discussing the Bush-era tax cuts is on the wealthy, but they're not the only ones who would be affected if the tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of this year.

The vast majority of American taxpayers would take a hit, including Randi Cartmill and Josh Walling, who live in Madison, Wis., with their three children.

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Dead Stop
1:52 am
Tue July 10, 2012

A City's History Writ Small, In One Cemetery

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:07 pm

On Florida's northeast coast, trams filled with families and school groups run constantly in St. Augustine, hitting nearly all of the old city's historic sites.

But down a side street lies an important piece of St. Augustine's history most visitors don't see, because it's only open one day a month.

"This is Tolomato Cemetery. It was formerly the parish cemetery for what is now the cathedral parish," says Elizabeth Gessner, who heads the cemetery's preservation association.

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Middle East
1:51 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Walls Of Palestinian Homes Come Tumbling Down

Palestinians collect their belongings after Israeli bulldozers raze their house in an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Feb. 9.
Ahmad Gharbali AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 6:46 am

Israel has dramatically increased its demolitions of unauthorized Palestinian homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a recent United Nations report.

Last year, 1,100 Palestinians — more than half of them children — were displaced, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. And demolitions this year continue at a high rate.

For Sami Idriss, the Israeli bulldozers came while the 26-year-old Palestinian was at work.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
1:28 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'Globals' Generation Focuses On Experience

Jennifer Larr (center) is seen here in Rwanda at the Gashora Girls Academy, where she was a teacher in 2011. Larr is part of a new generation of young adults focusing on travel, studying abroad and global experiences.
Courtesy of Jennifer Larr

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:58 pm

Jennifer Larr has the itch to go abroad. She's 26 years old and has already spent a year studying in France and two years in Rwanda with the Peace Corps, and she is headed to Uganda this summer for an internship. She's also a graduate student, studying international relations at UCLA.

Larr is part of a growing number of 20- and early 30-somethings whose American dream has moved beyond suburban homes and traditional nuclear families, and it's one that now goes even beyond U.S. borders.

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The Record
1:28 am
Tue July 10, 2012

My American Dream Sounds Like Rubén Blades

Blades, shown in 1970.
Echoes Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 6:54 am

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Africa
1:25 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Mubarak's Dream Remains Just That In Egypt's Desert

A sign on undeveloped land welcomes visitors to "New Toshka City." Toshka was to be a new settlement along the Upper Nile Valley, complete with enough jobs and infrastructure to support the relocation of 20 million Egyptians from polluted and over-crowded cities.
Holly Pickett Redux

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 6:57 am

In the middle of southern Egypt's windy desert, wheat fields stretch as far as the eye can see on a 24,000-acre farm. It's part of a grandiose project called Toshka that was dreamed up 15 years ago by the government of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian leader who ruled the country for three decades before being ousted last year.

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Asia
1:17 am
Tue July 10, 2012

China's Post-Olympic Woe: How To Fill An Empty Nest

Fireworks light the night sky above the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The stadium is largely empty these days.
Franck Fife AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 9:31 pm

As the opening date for the London Olympics nears, Beijing's acclaimed Olympic venues are saddled with high maintenance costs and are struggling to get by. And the most famous, the Bird's Nest stadium, has been repudiated by its own creator, dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

Even the state-run government mouthpiece, the China Daily, worries that Beijing's iconic structures risk becoming "white elephants."

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Business
1:16 am
Tue July 10, 2012

For Manufacturing Jobs, Workers Brush Up On Math

Brian Gasiewski removes the external housing for an industrial shock absorber from a CNC, or computer numerical control, machine at Fitzpatrick Manufacturing Co. in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Duane Burleson AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 5:52 am

Politicians have touted modern manufacturing as the solution for lifting the economy and providing good jobs.

But today's manufacturing work requires strong math skills — not just adding and subtracting, but a good grasp of fractions, decimals and basic trigonometry. And job applicants who want to go into manufacturing often don't have what it takes.

So colleges and nonprofits, especially throughout Illinois, are stepping in to bridge this skills gap by combining manufacturing training with basic reading and math.

Doing Math On The Job

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It's All Politics
1:14 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Democrats Say Anonymous Donors Unfairly Influencing Senate Races

Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 10:25 am

In Senate races, Democrats are fighting to preserve their thin majority. Their party campaign committee wants the Federal Election Commission to crack down on some of the Republicans' wealthiest allies — outside money groups that are using anonymous contributions to finance a multimillion-dollar onslaught of attack ads.

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Business
12:03 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Judge: Samsung's Galaxy Tab Not As 'Cool' As iPad

Samsung won a victory Monday in its global patent war with Apple. The British judge said Samsung's Galaxy Tab (right) is "not as cool" as the iPad (left).
Gero Breloer AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:09 pm

Samsung won a victory in Britain on Monday in its global patent war with Apple over the designs for its tablet computers.

A British judge ruled Samsung's Galaxy Tablets do not infringe on any of Apple's designs for the iPad.

Samsung, however, may have mixed feelings about this decision.

According to Judge Colin Birss, Samsung's Galaxy tablets are not cool enough to be confused with the iPad or violate any of Apple's design patents.

The ruling was a legal victory for Samsung, but if this were a consumer review, it would have been a bloodbath.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

From Our Readers: A Car Worthy of 'The Saint'

Comments under today's piece on a very well-travelled Volvo, reveal an abundance of affection for the make. "I'll be here all week" recalls with fondness all the "quirky features" of his white 1968 P1800S, including "rear view mirror ... mounted on the center of the dashboard, vertical temp gauges between the speedo and tach, the funky aircraft style levers for the vents and fan."

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All Tech Considered
3:38 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

The Next Silicon Valley? Berlin Startups Catching Up With The Hype

Simon Fabich (center) is CEO and co-founder of the Berlin-based online shopping startup Monoqi. Artsy and relatively inexpensive, Berlin is an up-and-coming city for European tech startups.
Courtesy of Monoqi

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:29 pm

California's Silicon Valley remains by far the dominant arena for high-tech startups and venture capitalists looking to back innovative projects.

But Europe is starting to make its mark on the startup scene. London, Paris and Berlin are starting to hold their own as more and more European startups look to compete on the global stage and attract investors.

A 'Crazy Green Field' For Creative Types

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It's All Politics
3:21 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Justice Department, Texas Face Off In Court Over Voter ID Law

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:54 pm

The Justice Department and the state of Texas faced off at trial Monday over the state's new voter identification law, which the Obama administration claims violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

In opening arguments before a three-judge panel in federal district court in Washington, D.C., a lawyer for Texas argued that the photo ID requirement was intended to limit voter fraud, not to curb turnout of legally registered voters.

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The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Think Our Cable Chat Shows Are Raucous? In Turkey They Pull Guns

A Jordanian MP pulls a gun on an opponent.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 3:42 pm

That headline may seem familiar. It's borrowed from a post we wrote last month about an altercation on a Greek TV show. We're reprising the title, because a Jordanian television talk show has seen that altercation and raised it by a gun.

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The Record
3:09 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Essence In New Orleans: A Festival That Knows Its Audience

Mary J. Blige performs during the 2012 Essence Music Festival at Louisiana Superdome on July 7.
Erika Goldring Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:23 pm

For the last 18 years, the Essence Music Festival has been the go-to event for African-Americans, especially African-American women. For three days in New Orleans, hundreds of thousands show up for R&B and gospel concerts and panels on politics, financial planning and parenting.

If it's a party, as creator George Wein describes it, it's a party with a purpose.

"New Orleans is a party city and they party," Wein says. "People party here. If you go to the hotels — 40-floor hotels — [there's] like 40 floors of parties."

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Afghanistan
2:54 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

A Taliban Execution Brings Back Painful Memories

A screen grab from the video of a public execution reportedly carried out last month in Afghanistan. The victim is sitting with her back to the executioner, who is at left.
Agence France Presse

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 11:33 am

Earlier today, we published and distributed a story by Ahmad Shafi recounting his experience witnessing a public execution in Kabul in 1998. Since the story was published, it has come to our attention that portions of the piece were copied from a story by Jason Burke, published by the London Review of Books in March 2001. We have removed Shafi's story from our website.

It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Swing State TV Stations Spiking Ad Rates As Campaign Cash Pours In

President Obama at a stop on his bus tour of Ohio in Port Clinton on July 5.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:19 pm

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Politics
2:47 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Obama Calls For Tax Cut Extension For Middle Class

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 3:38 pm

President Obama has called on Congress to extend tax cuts for the middle class, while allowing rates for the wealthiest Americans to go up.

The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

In Egypt, Court Says Its Decision On Dissolving Parliament Is Final

Workers clean inside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo on Monday.
Mohammed Asad AP

Today there were two big developments in Egypt:

First, Egypt's high court reaffirmed that its decision to dissolve parliament was final and binding. Over the weekend, the newly-elected President Mohammed Morsi had called parliament back into session defying the court's earlier decision.

Reporting from Cairo, Kimberly Adams told our Newscast unit that this sets up a "political showdown."

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The Salt
2:11 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Brits Battle For Cheesy Glory By Writing National Anthem For Cheddar

The British Cheese Board is looking for a national anthem for cheddar cheese.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 6:54 am

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Sports
2:11 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

For R.A. Dickey, Knuckleballs Are Personal

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey delivers his signature pitch, with its unusual grip, against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 6. He's the only knuckleballer in the major leagues, and the pitch has earned him a 12-1 record so far this season.
Kathy Willens AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:32 pm

R.A. Dickey's career as a major league pitcher has been as unpredictable as his signature pitch, the knuckleball.

And on Tuesday night, the New York Mets' 37-year-old phenomenon will hit a new pinnacle: the pitching mound at baseball's All-Star Game.

He won't be starting for the National League — manager Tony La Russa chose Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants for that honor. But the manager says says Dickey will pitch.

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All Tech Considered
2:11 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Father Of The Cellphone 'Unleashed' World's Callers From Copper Wires

Martin Cooper holds a Motorola DynaTAC, a 1973 prototype of the first hand-held cellular telephone, in San Francisco in 2003. Cooper made the world's first public call from a cellphone in 1973.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 3:37 pm

They called it "the brick." And Martin Cooper says it really did look like one: 8 inches high, an inch and a half wide, 4 inches deep, and weighing 2 1/2 pounds.

In other words, the world's first hand-held cellphone, the Motorola DynaTAC, weighed the equivalent of about eight iPhones. (Try jamming that into a pocket.)

"The battery life was only 20 minutes," says Cooper, a former vice president at Motorola who has been called the "father of the cellphone." "But that was not a problem because you couldn't hold that heavy thing up for more than 20 minutes."

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Health Care
2:11 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Texas Rejects Medicaid Expansion In Health Law

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Texas is saying no to key parts of the federal health care law. Today, Governor Rick Perry said Texas will not create a state exchange for people to buy health insurance and will not expand Medicaid. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Governor Perry called both provisions a power grab, brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state.

Here's Governor Perry today on Fox News.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:06 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Why Silk May Someday Be Added To Vaccines

Soft to the touch, silk may also help preserve vaccines and drugs someday.
Fiorenzo Omenetto Tufts University

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 2:36 pm

Silk is in neckties, scarves and some fancy underwear and pajamas. Before too long, it might just help keep people from getting sick with measles or polio.

Vaccines play an important role in health, but can be tricky to transport to the far corners of the world. Many vaccines and some other drugs require constant refrigeration — from the factories where they're made to the places where they're ultimately injected into people.

That's where silk comes in.

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Who 'Owns' The Bush Tax Cuts?

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 2:53 pm

They're called the Bush tax cuts for a reason. And when they were passed in the early 2000s, most Democrats opposed them.

Cut to a decade later: President Obama is calling for a second extension in as many years of the "temporary" cuts, but it won't come without a fight from congressional Republicans.

Given the apparent role reversal, who owns the George W. Bush-era tax cuts now: Democrats or Republicans?

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Judging The Health Care Law
1:15 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Congress' Big Stick Just Got a Little Shorter

Susan Clark (left) argues with another protester about the Affordable Care Act outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts likened the law's Medicaid expansion provision to "a gun to the head" of states.
Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 11:58 am

Nothing breeds lawsuits like uncertainty. That being the case, the Supreme Court's landmark health care ruling is almost certain to open the door to lawsuits challenging the federal government's authority.

The court ruled the federal government can't force states to participate in a major expansion of Medicaid or else risk losing existing Medicaid funds from Washington. That threat amounted to unconstitutional coercion.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Four More Charged In Border Patrol Killing Linked To 'Fast And Furious'

With wanted posters off to the side, James L. Turgal, Jr., right, FBI Special Agent in Charge, listens as Laura E. Duffy, United States Attorney Southern District of California, announces the indictments on five suspects involved in the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on Monday.
Ross D. Franklin AP

The Justice Department has unsealed criminal charges against four more people it says are connected to the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, as the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of the fugitives.

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AIDS: A Turning Point
12:37 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Teen Years Pose New Risks For Kids Born With HIV

A boy waits to get his anti-AIDS drugs from pharmacist Rajesh Chandra at the Botswana-Baylor Children's Clinical Center of Excellence in Gaborone.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:33 pm

The southern African nation of Botswana is grappling with a relatively new problem in the evolving AIDS pandemic: It now has a large group of HIV-positive adolescents.

The teenagers were infected at birth before Botswana managed to almost wipe out mother-to-child transmission of the virus. These children have survived because of a public health system that provides nearly universal access to powerful anti-AIDS drugs.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

PHOTO: A New Panoramic View Of Mars

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took this panoramic view of the planet between Dec. 2011 and May.
NASA

NASA has released a new, stunning panoramic image of Mars. The scene is stitched from 817 images taken by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity from Dec. 2011 to May.

To do the image justice, you have to download the hi-resolution version, but be warned it's close to 14 MB.

Here's how NASA describes the scene:

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NPR Story
12:31 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Joy Harjo's 'Crazy Brave' Path To Finding Her Voice

Joy Harjo has won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year for her album Winding Through the Milky Way.
Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:51 pm

In her new memoir, Joy Harjo recounts how her early years — a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father and abusive stepfather, and the hardships of teen motherhood — caused her to suppress her artistic gifts and nearly brought her to her breaking point. "It was the spirit of poetry," she writes in Crazy Brave, "who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love."

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